Family

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

I miss my dad.

Robert Douglas Snow_0001

It’s been 21 years since I heard his voice, felt his strong hugs, and smelled the Old Spice Aftershave on his cheeks.

What I wouldn’t give for a conversation with him.

Sometimes I imagine him showing up, like when I’m walking on the beach by myself, thinking about him.

As I walk past the fishermen on the beach, I remember how my dad struck up conversations with anybody and everybody holding a fishing pole.

“Are they biting? What are they taking?” He’d ask.

Before long, he knew a bit about everybody and a lot about where the fish were biting, and what bait they were taking.

I try to imagine how a conversation would go with him if I saw him fishing by the shore.

Maybe I’d start by asking whether he’s getting any nibbles on his fishing line.

But, that small talk would not be enough.

I’d probably pepper him with questions that were too big to answer.

You know, questions like “what’s heaven like?” “what do you do all the time?”

I imagine me asking them so fast that he couldn’t answer one before I was on to the next one.

Then, I visualize him smiling and shaking his head at me, and saying, “You still can’t slow down, can you?”

It reminds me of the story about when I was born.

It was October when my mom called my dad from their little two bedroom apartment in Utah to tell him she was in labor with me, and he said, “Now? But it’s the opening of the deer hunt!”

As the owner of the town dairy, Dad had just finished his home delivery route and I’m sure he was ready to start cleaning his hunting rifle or seasoning his Dutch oven for his campfire dinners.

“You can’t have the baby now!” he said. “I’m getting ready for the hunt!”

“To hell with the deer hunt,” Mom said. “This baby’s coming whether it’s the hunt or not, so you better get yourself home now and get me to the hospital.”

Even with the deer hunt looming, he dutifully drove his milk truck back to the dairy, parked it, got into his red Chevy pickup truck and headed back to their apartment to pick up Mom.  He helped her up into the cab of the truck, and then hurried her to the hospital for the delivery.

English: First Series 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Pick...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then he waited patiently in the lobby like a good fifties dad.

At the end of my birth story, he always said, “You were in a hurry to get here and you haven’t slowed down since.”

I’m sure he’d still think I haven’t slowed down, even though I’m always trying.

Aside from knowing what it’s like where he is, I’d want to know how he’s involved in our family life.

It doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t still be involved.

I believe our family members are closer to us than we know, like our guardian angels.

Maybe God dispatches them to answer some of our prayers.

Jeffrey Holland, one of my favorite LDS apostles, said, “From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children.”

 

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/the-ministry-of-angels?lang=eng

He said, “Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.”

I believe my dad’s been around during some of my difficult times to give me some of that merciful attention.

How could he have stayed away during those long months I battled cancer?

How could he have stayed away when my brothers, sister, mom, or his grandchildren have needed comfort?

Elder Holland said,  “I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face…On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.”

Because of this and my belief that my dad is one of those angels, I can confidently wish him a Happy Father’s Day and know he’s near enough to hear it ,and know I mean it.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Family, Friends, Uncategorized

Beach Decisions

I love beach decisions.

Should I go to the “yoga on the beach” class first or swim in the pool and then go to the yoga class?

Yoga wins.

Should I walk or ride my bike?

Turns out I have to drive to yoga.

I spent too much time sitting on the deck watching the American flag flap in the breeze while waving and smiling at all the morning walkers.

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Flag waving at sunset

I decide to bike ride after yoga; jump in the pool after lunch; and then walk late at night and enjoy the stars in the pitch-black sky.

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While floating in the pool, we discuss whether to kayak or Jet Ski the next day.

I recommend stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and get soundly rejected.

Jimmy, the pool guy replacing the water heater, says we should kite-board.

We’re too lazy for the learning curve of a new sport, and decide to kayak.

Later, we kayak and watch the jet skiers, the kite-boarders, and the stand-up paddlers.

Shall I paddle hard or take it easy? Both, I decide. Paddle hard; paddle gently; repeat.

As we float into shore, there are more  decisions.

Shall we go out to dinner or barbecue on the grill at home?

We opt for Gidget’s where the salads are fresh and the pasta never disappoints.

The decisions never stop, but the beauty of beach decisions is that the options are all good.

Here are a few of our good decisions:

  • My friend, Gregoria, brought mood lipsticks and we tried on every color to find our favorite shades.  We couldn’t decide which one we liked the most, so we ordered them all on Amazon. (Zalan aloe vera mood changing lipsticks)IMG_2350
  • Faced with baking sheets full of fresh pastries, we broke down and bought the Apple Ugglies at Orange Blossom Bakery. “Tradition,” Ann, our Apple Ugly lover, insists; so we go along.  http://orangeblossombakery.com/AboutUs.html. (I just learned from searching for the Orange Blossom’s link that they have healthier versions that are baked and not fried. That will be a better decision for us next time! They also have chocolate covered uglies that I must totally avoid!)

    Greg with her Apple Ugly
    Greg with her Apple Ugly
  • Sara decides she wants Paula Deen’s strawberry cake for her birthday. I comply with that birthday wish and make a last minute decision to add pureed leftover strawberry salsa to the cake. YUM. Excellent decision.IMG_2358
  • I ask my friends about their advice to their younger selves and plan a blog on that topic. Another good choice. (Watch for that advice in an upcoming blog.)
  • Sara and my niece, Chalisse, text me to tell me how much they would enjoy breakfast in bed. I decide to surprise them and really do it, complete with strawberry garnishes. Another good choice because it’s not something I can do very often.

Perhaps the best decision I made was to stop at the Buxton Bookstore.IMG_1499

 

We’ve driven by it a million times over the years and never stopped.

How I overlooked it is a mystery to me. I love local bookstores.

I walk in the quaint little house and discover the hidden gem of the Outer Banks.

Shelves brimming with books. Books of all kinds.

I ask the owner to recommend some.

“What have you read and liked lately?” she asks.

I reel off a few titles, and she walks me around the store pointing out one good book after another.

I am in book heaven.

We chat about memoirs, favorite writers, and best books by local authors.

“How do you find time to read all these books?” I ask her.

“I’ve read every book in this store,” she says. “I only order a book if I’ve read it.”

Every book?

Every book.

I am amazed, not only that she is such a voracious reader, but that her shop has survived since the late Seventies.

It’s quite a feat to stay in business for that long on Hatteras Island — especially for a bookstore.

The combination of surviving a tough, seasonal economy and some nasty hurricanes is impressive enough, but, a thriving bookstore in the remote village of Buxton, North Carolina wows me .

No Amazon mega bookstore monster ruling the literary world here.

I want to grab this bookshop owner’s face and kiss her.

Stopping at her store was a great decision.

So was stopping at Mel’s Diner in Grandy, NC on the way home.

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Poor Mel is retiring because he has cancer but, he loves the place and can’t bear the thought of not seeing his good customers every day.  (The gentleman in the photo is one of Mel’s regular customers; not Mel.)

We will miss seeing Mel, but we are so glad we got to know him.

Yes, another good beach decision.

The decisions I need to make at home are not nearly as fun as the decisions at the beach, so I will savor the memories and count the days until I can go back.

Now, that’s another good decision.

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Perspective — the first gift of the sea

Before we left home for our trek to the beach, I wondered if I could leave all my duties and responsibilities undone for a week.

A miraculous thing always happens when we arrive in Avon, North Carolina.

My memory gets wiped clean.

I can’t remember what I had to do that was so important it couldn’t wait.

As I sit on the deck, mesmerized by the ocean, I try to remember.

What were those things I thought I couldn’t leave undone?

Perspective is one of the gifts of the sea, I think. 

The first book I brought to our new beach house was Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea, the 50th anniversary edition.

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In the first chapter, she wrote, “The beach is not the place to work; to read, write or think. I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm, too damp, too soft for any real mental discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carries down the faded straw bag, lumpy with books,  clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists, and good intentions. The books remain unread, the pencils break their points and the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky. No reading, no writing, no thoughts even — at least not at first.

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“At first, the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one’s mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the seashore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, and stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribblings.

“And then, some morning in the second week, the mind wakes, comes to life again. Not in a city sense –no–but beach-wise. It begins to drift, to play, to turn over in gentle careless rolls like those lazy waves on the beach. One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind…”

“But it must not be sought for or — heaven forbid!– dug for. No, no dredging of the sea bottom here. That would defeat one’s purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient.

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“Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.”

The bottom line of this blog is that I need to stay longer. A week is barely enough. I need to move into the second, third and fourth week to experience the awakened mind and to receive the sea’s gifts of patience and faith.

But, at least I’ve received the first gift from the ocean — perspective and forgetting home and all the seemingly important things that I thought needed to be done.

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